Man, what a bummer that you couldn't secure that last minute Burning Man ticket! I know, I know, it's sooo not for you, especially now that it's this *scene* and it's so dominated by *tech* and it's just not special and about *art* and OKAY EVERYONE YOU KNOW IS GOING AND YOU ARE DYING OF THE FOMO!
Take a deep breath. It's going to be okay. Why? Because while you may be missing out on the huge party in the desert that will be dominating your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feed for the next two months, and may not have an opportunity to bust out the Zebra-print tutu you've been storing in your closet for the last eight months, you do still live in a marvelous city rich with things to eat, drink, and do. A city that will be pleasantly, gloriously empty, allowing you a respite from the line-waiting, table stalking, park weaving that we've all grown used to. So get out, you beautiful butterfly! Enjoy this gorgeous place we call home, perched on the lip of the Pacific.
And you know what? Because it's San Francisco, you can still wear that tutu if you want and you still won't be the weirdest cat out and about.
Where to strut your sartorial stuff?
1. Go shopping.
Go shopping. But not to the mall. photo credit: w4nd3rl0st (InspiredinDesMoines)
You know what's un-fun? Shoving through weekend crowds when ALL YOU WANT is to get a fluorescent colored bandeau bra from Forever 21 (oh, that's not you too?). Do it now (and yeah, probably skip Forever 21)!
Downtown may still be thronged with shorts-clad tourists, but the Mission, Hayes Valley, and the Haight are all chock-full of charming local boutiques just dying to take your money (yeah, everyone is probably still in the Marina, so forget that). Some places to start: Unionmade in the Castro is the spot for classic, good-looking men's fashion. Revolver in Lower Haight and Voyager in the Mission are go-to's for cool art, local designer wear, and more. We'd wear everything from Aggregate Supply and Bell Jar Collective in the Mission Goorin Brothers in North Beach has the coolest damn hats ever, and yes, you can and should pull off that sassy cloche with a feather. The Perish Trust on Divis is the coolest, especially now with Umami Mart in the back slinging Japanese kitchen and barware. Azalea in Hayes Valley is dangerously cute, and will undoubtedly make a huge dent in your wallet. You may actually have a shot at scoring some thrift finds in the Haight without the barrage of people looking for Burning Man costumes.
Or if clothes are not your thing, support local record stores and buy some new music.
2. Try a new restaurant.
photo credit: Shawn Harquail
Seriously, guys, SO MANY RESTAURANTS have opened this year. And so many of them are really, really good. Now's the time to try them out! Among the slew of new openings in the first half of 2014, we're particularly amped on: Trou Normand, Lolo (and the accompanying Cevicheria), Kin Khao, Molina in Mill Valley, Chino, and the revamps of Hog Island Oyster Company, Outerlands, Monsieur Benjamin in Hayes Valley, Plin in the Mission and Pabu and The Ramen Bar downtown. Oh, and don't forget about Ume, or the brand-new Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House in Oakland. Go forth and eat!
3. Try a restaurant you haven't been able to get into.
photo credit: TheeErin
Still looking to conquer a must-eat San Francisco restaurant? Now's the time. You may still have to wait (thank goodness for these thoughtful guides telling you where to do so), but the crowds will be relatively thinned, and your wait noticeably shortened. In addition to While You Wait-approved hot spots, the Chron's Top 100 list is a rather excellent collection of spots to dig into, and has a good representation of longstanding San Francisco classics, and delicious newcomers, too. If you haven't been to the House of Prime Rib just do it...do it now. And, this may be the time to hit up Tartine and not wait 100 years for a morning bun (same goes for toast at The Mill).
4. Go on an impromptu bar crawl.
photo credit: dpstyles
It's funny how every time we think about what to do when waiting for a table, before or after an event, or really on an average Wednesday, we end up progressing from one watering hole to another. Follow suit! We're a city rich in cocktail, beer, and dive bars; now's the time to explore them without shoving your way to the bar.
5. Go to the movies. Or a show. Or the theater. Or a gallery.
photo credit: Steve Rhodes
...you live in a city! There are things to do. Always! My favorites include movies at the Castro Theatre (Lawrence of Arabia is coming up Labor Day weekend) and shows at The Independent (West African blues guitarist Bombino is playing the August 31. Unmissable), but there are so many things to do, all of the time. Go!
6. Get out of San Francisco...for a little bit.
photo credit: kevincole
Go explore Oakland. Or Berkeley. Or the Marin Headlands. Or the Skyline Trail on the Peninsula. Pacifica. Half Moon Bay. Larkspur. Wine country. Hike Mount Diablo (and watch tarantulas mate!). Hikes and restaurants and museums and beyond can be found just outside of our little city. If it's a day trip, you'll still have time to come back and enjoy an emptied out San Francisco. Or...
7. Stay in.
photo credit: Jason Means
Be lazy. Binge watch Orange Is The New Black/Twin Peaks/Dawson's Creek (shhhh). With 90% of the people you know off having experiences on the Playa, no one will be around to make you feel guilty for indulging your laziness. Grab a six pack, order some Thai food, and call it a weekend/week/okay who's counting?!
Photos: First Look At The Man, The Temple, And A Wet Black Rock City
25 Reasons You're Glad You're Not Going To Burning Man